Fashion and (Over)Shopping
A dress can't cost $16.99 and make a profit unless someone's getting screwed: probably the Bangladeshi child who sewed on the sequins till her fingers bled.
But who can remember the workers while being flirted with by a rack of fashion crack at Forever21? Hey, you can always offload them on Poshmark.
No. You can't. The cheap stuff doesn't sell. It's Goodwill fodder (85% of that doesn't sell), or landfill. At our current shopping rate the textiles we discard could reach the sun in 15 months.
True, some producers of Fast Fashion are making efforts. But, eg. the H&M buyback program merely enables the buying of more stuff. From H&M*. Here's how that ends up >
I placed the revenues of ten brands next to the personal net worth of the man at the top, next to the GDP of entire countries. See how the H&M Persson family owns more than the kingdom of Jordan generated last year? How the baron of Zara (which started the trend for instant trend) Amancio Ortega's $70 Billion is more than Sri Lanka earned in 2015? I know this is not apples to apples, but it makes you think. Why do we keep giving these men all our money for their badly sewn blouses? Does it make us happy?
We are now flooding the secondary market with mall brands: We're creating the end of vintage: Nothing new is worth keeping (or will last) for 25 years.
As for the high end, luxury label clothes are increasingly boring because designers can't take risks when the financial stakes are so high. The former New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn, put it succinctly:
“The main interest of high-fashion companies is economic rather than aesthetic. It’s to sell products and capture new markets, much as Coca-Cola and Apple do.”
And here are those Luxury guys' personal fortunes charted >
The net worth of twenty people --the boys who got richest from fashion-- is over twice the GDP of Bangladesh (whose people make their clothes); or greater than the GDP of 165 separate countries.
In which universe is that not insane?
* It must be said H&M is the best of the mega brands in approaching sustainability. But the concepts "mega brand" and "sustainability" simply cannot coexist.
For more on fashion industry, ethics and stuff
Here is a good concise article